By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
PROMISED to bring the heat in his Manila debut for ONE Championship, Filipino Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang delivered on it, emerging on top in the opening round over Thai Pongsiri Mitsatit in their strawweight fight at “ONE: Fire & Fury” on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Fighting in his second outing in the main draw of Asia’s largest sports media property, Team Lakay’s Adiwang (11-2) did not waste much time, jumping on his opponent early on en route to the submission victory over Mitsatit by way of kimura.
Earlier, women’s strawweight fighter Gina “Conviction” Iniong scored a unanimous decision win over Asha Roka of India.
After a brief feeling-out period, Adiwang got his attack going, throwing a flying knee and following it up with a barrage of strikes.
He managed to force the Thai to the cage and eventually to the ground where he bombarded Mitsatit with elbows and punches.
Mitsatit survived Adiwang’s onslaught and forced things to a stand-up anew before taking the Filipino to the ground.
The two fighters angled on the mat, giving each other a lock.
Adiwang though found the leverage he wanted and went for the roll that got him on top.
From there he executed a kimura and moments later Mitsatit made the tap, forcing the referee to stop the fight at the 3:02 mark of the first round.
Adiwang topped the ONE Warrior Series last year to earn a contract with ONE Championship.
He had a winning debut in ONE’s main draw in October, defeating former Pancrase champion Senzo Ikeda at the landmark “ONE: Century” event in Japan.
“I credit maturity for this win,” said Adiwang who shared he has grown a lot as a fighter in recent years.
He went on to say that he loved fighting in Manila and is looking forward to putting up impressive performances for the Filipino fans in the future.
Meanwhile, Iniong, also of Team Lakay, notched back-to-back wins in ONE with a unanimous decision victory over Roka.
The fighters had their moments throughout the three rounds but Iniong proved to have more to give as the fight wore on.
The win was in follow-up to Iniong’s ONE victory in February last year where she won by split decision over Hayatun Jihin Radzuan of Malaysia.
It also came on the heels of her successful outing in the recent Southeast Asian Games held here in December where she produced a gold medal in the women’s 55-kg kick light category of the kickboxing event.